Area Guide: The well-connected Hertfordshire town of Hemel Hempstead

The Riverside shopping centre, Hemel Hempstead. Picture: Danny Loo

The Riverside shopping centre, Hemel Hempstead. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Part of the London commuter belt, but more affordable than the likes of St Albans and Harpenden, Hemel Hempstead has a lot to offer residents. We found out more.

The Riverside shopping centre, Hemel Hempstead. Picture: Danny Loo

The Riverside shopping centre, Hemel Hempstead. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Hemel has existed as a settlement since the 8th century, and was granted its town charter in 1539 by King Henry VIII.

It was declared a New Town in 1947, with expansion plans put in place to accommodate Londoners moving out of slum housing or homes that had been bombed during the war. The first residents moved into their homes in Adeyfield in 1950.

The Old Town High Street remains a pretty and vibrant place to visit, with Tudor, Georgian and Victorian buildings housing shops selling everything from antiques to angling supplies. There are also many popular pubs, cafes and restaurants in the area, with a wide range of cuisine, including Indian, Italian and Thai.

The Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead. Picture: Danny Loo

The Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Property

According to Rightmove, properties in Hemel had an overall average price of £375,192 over the last 12 months, an annual increase of 3 per cent.

There are a range of properties currently on the market in Hemel, suiting a variety of needs and budgets.

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At the top end of the market is a five bedroom, 5,000sq ft detached house on The Leas, which has a guide price of £1.85m.

The Marlowes is home to many high street stores. Picture: Danny Loo

The Marlowes is home to many high street stores. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

At the more affordable end of the market, a fully refurbished three bed terraced house on Leverstock Green Road is on for £425,000, while a studio apartment above a shop in the Old Town could be yours for £129,950.

Amenities

The Marlowes is a well-equipped, modern shopping centre in the heart of Hemel. With a range of popular chain stores, it provides for a wide variety of shopping needs.

Hemel Hempstead has a wide range of shops on offer. Picture: Danny Loo

Hemel Hempstead has a wide range of shops on offer. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

The other main area for high street shopping is the pleasant Riverside complex, which also has a Premier Inn.

Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town high street has more independent shops and is well served for pubs and restaurants. Popular eateries include the Turkish restaurant, Opuz Kitchen, and Mazza Indian restaurant.

There are many supermarkets including an ASDA, a Sainsbury’s, two ALDIs and several Tescos.

XC, Jarman Park, Hemel Hempstead. Picture: Danny Loo

XC, Jarman Park, Hemel Hempstead. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Transport

Hemel Hempstead is famous for its ‘magic roundabout’ – an interchange at the end of the town centre where traffic from six routes meets. Vehicles circulate in both directions around a central ‘roundabout’. It was the first such system in Britain.

The town has easy access to both the M1 and the M25 and fast rail links to London Euston; a train journey can take less than half an hour.

The Plough Roundabout, aka 'the Magic Roundabout' in Hemel Hempstead, as seen from the A4146. Picture: Google Street View

The Plough Roundabout, aka 'the Magic Roundabout' in Hemel Hempstead, as seen from the A4146. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

Schools

Hemel Hempstead has numerous primary schools, including George Street Primary, Lime Walk and The Reddings, which all received a ‘good’ Ofsted ranking at their last inspections.

Secondary options include John F Kennedy Catholic School, The Hemel Hempstead School, and Longdean School, all of which are rated ‘good’.

Private schools include Abbot’s Hill, an independent girls’ school for ages four to 16, and Lockers Park, a boys’ prep school with a boarding option which takes girls up to Year Two.

This area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead and Harpenden...

This area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead and Harpenden (www.frosts.co.uk/branches) - Credit: Archant

Sport and leisure

Jarman Park, near the centre of the town, boasts an ice rink, a gym, a soft play centre, and a variety of chain restaurants.

Also in Jarman Park is XC, an activity centre offering climbing walls, skateboarding and indoor caving.

The Snow Centre has a 160m indoor real-snow slope for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding - the biggest learner slope in the UK.

Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre has a gym and swimming pool, as well as squash and basketball courts.

Sapphire Gymnastics has two popular sites in the town, offering recreational classes for all ages.

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